Arriving almost stealthily but just in time to prove 2020 isn’t all bad, The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is a riveting story of loss, genius, addiction and chess.
Smartly and economically written, gorgeously designed and shot, and with an excellent score (by Carlos Rafael Rivera) the series however, is owned lock, stock and barrel by Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Emma).
The actor plays orphan Beth Harmon and the seven episodes detail her meteoric rise through the world chess rankings. Director/writer Scott Frank (Godless) makes full use of Taylor-Joy’s eyes throughout, which seem to sometimes threaten to burn right through the screen. It’s a frequently astonishing performance, one that starts from those eyes and manifests a dark and fascinating inner life for her character. This was clearly a rather special collaboration between the two.
Based on a 1983 thriller novel by Walter Tevis (who also wrote The Hustler, The Colour of Money and The Man Who Fell To Earth), the story moves forward propulsively but never less than thoughtfully and also highlights a complicated but tender relationship between Beth and her adoptive mother, played by Marielle Heller.
The cast is uniformly good, featuring superb turns from the likes of Isla Johnston (as young Beth), Bill Camp (the care home janitor who spark’s Beth’s nascent talent) and Moses Ingram (as Beth’s closest friend, a character we should definitely have seen more of in the narrative).
But this is Taylor-Joy’s show and a great showcase for the young actor. Frank and Taylor-Joy give us a fascinating, magnetic character in Beth, and mostly avoid making her talent magical by highlighting her obsessive and destructive traits.
The Queen’s Gambit feels very much like a piece of classic Hollywood storytelling, yet rises above that with a cool boldness that feels utterly compelling.
The series brings a wonderful, stylish slice of viewing joy (sorry, not sorry) to a pretty awful year.
With the tedious inevitability of an unloved season (there’s one for long time Bond fans), No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond franchise, has seen its November release pushed back for a second time.
Originally slated to release back in April, the final outing for Daniel Craig’s secret agent will now see the light of day on April 21st, 2021, just over a year later. Maybe.
MGM, Eon Productions and Universal were determined to make the November release, but it’s likely the solid but not spectacular box office take of Warner Bros.’ Tenet, along with the ongoing worldwide problems at the hands of Covid-19, have convinced the studios that Bond would need to cool his heels.
“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience. We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing No Time To Die next year,” says the official statement.
Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow had already delayed their early October and early November releases, respectively, so this latest delay is frustrating but not really surprising. Expect Dune to follow suit shortly and shift from its current Christmas Day release slot.
2020 is destined to be a terrible year for cinemas, so let’s hope things begin to improve in the new year…
The music video has been released for Billie Eilish singing the theme song from the forthcoming 25th entry in the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die.
While the song was originally released back in February, the official music video has been held back until now, due to the film’s Covid-19 related delay.
Now, with the film hitting cinemas in just a few short weeks (you can view the latest trailer here), we can see Eilish being sultry all over clips from the film, highlighting the troubled relationship between Bond and Dr. Madeleine Swann.
No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing in the tailored Tom Ford suits as 007, directed by Cary Joi Fukunaga from a screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with a score by Hans Zimmer, and co-starring Léa Seydoux, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Lashana Lynch and Rami Malek, will be with us on 12 November (in the UK and Australia) and the 20th November (for the USA).
Deadline just dropped the news that Marvel have found their Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel. Newcomer Iman Vellani will play the character in a new series for Disney Plus.
Created by editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson, and artists Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie, Khan is Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book.
The new series for the streaming channel will be written by Bisha K. Ali and centers on Khan, a Pakistani-American teen based in New Jersey. It will mark Vellani’s first big role in the film and television industry.
The news follows on swiftly from the recent announcement that Tatiana Maslany has been cast in the title role of a She-Hulk series, and this week’s announcement that the studio is developing a Nick Fury series, to star Samuel L. Jackson.
We’ll bring you more word on Ms. Marvel as the show moves into production, but this is exciting news for fans of the character.
The trailer for WandaVision, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe series to hit Disney Plus dropped last night, and it looks like things are about to get mighty strange…
Not much is known about the plot for WandaVision, but it does apparently take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the events of Avengers: Endgame, which saw The Vision meet his synthetic maker (that can’t possibly be a spoiler for anyone now, right!?). That in itself makes this show intriguing, to say the least.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles from the Marvel movies, joined by Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, Randall Park, and Kathryn Hahn, while the six episodes have been written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman.
No date was given for the release of the series, just a generic ‘Coming Soon,’ though since the series was originally supposed to drop in December, following Falcon And the Winter Soldier (which has been delayed in production due to that all-encompassing Covid-19), it now looks like WandaVision will kick off the Disney Plus Marvel bandwagon.
We’ll just have to wait and see when exactly this slice of Marvel weirdness will arrive on our screens, but this trailer certainly has me looking forward to it…
I have to be honest, I’m a little obsessed with Tatiana Maslany. It’s her teeth. They are, and I’ll brook no argument on this, the sexiest teeth on television.
That aside, the fact that Marvel have landed Maslany for the title role in their new She-Hulk series for Disney Plus is excellent news, because her performances in BBC America show, Orphan Black, were fabulous. Maslany was nominated for three Emmys and a Golden Globe during the show’s run between 2013 and 2017, winning the Emmy for best actress in a drama series in 2016.
She-Hulk, to those who are behind on their Marvel Comics’ lore, is the alter-ego of lawyer Jennifer Walters, Bruce Banner’s cousin who, at least in her four-colour origin, is tranformed into an intelligent, green-skinned giant after a life-saving blood transfusion from her (in)famous relative. Mark Ruffalo has coyly intimated he may even reprise his role as Banner for a cameo on the show.
She-Hulk’s debut on the screen is shaping up nicely, as Maslany’s casting joins the announcement from earlier this week that Kat Coiro had been signed as director and executive producer. She will direct the pilot and additional episodes of the series. Jessica Gao is writing the series and serves as executive producer and showrunner.
Coiro has directed shows including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Dead To Me, while Gao has Rick and Morty on her resume, which suggest She-Hulk might follow the frequently semi-comedic tone taken by the best of the character’s comic book appearances (star artist/writer John Byrne produced a memorable run in the 80s, with Shulkie, as she’s affectionately known, frequently breaking the fourth wall to address readers).
She-Hulk, with a currently unknown release date, will join other Marvel Cinematic Universe shows on Disney Plus, including Falcon and The Winter Soldier, WandaVision and Loki, with Hawkeye, Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel also in development.
We’ll bring you more news as it hits.
Tatiana Maslany photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Start your engines! The Batman director Matt Reeves has just revealed his version of the Batmobile. And, well, here it is…
There’s not much more to say at this point, except that it looks nicely slimmed down from recent chunky cinematic Batmobiles, and to this old Bat Fan’s eyes, it has something of the feel of both the 1970s comic book sports car versions designed by the likes of Bob Brown, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano and the sleek number designed by the late, great artist Norm Breyfogle, for his excellent run in the 1980s. And that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The cast also includes Zoe Kravtiz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as Riddler, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, John Turturro as crime boss Carmine Falcone, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred and Peter Sarsgaard as Gotham City DA Gil Colson.
The film will be released June 25th, 2021.
Last month, it was revealed that Billie Eilish would be the youngest-ever person to record a theme song for a James Bond movie, No Time To Die, the 25th in the franchise. And now, seemingly faster than a bullet fired from a Walther PPK, here it is…
“We’ve always wanted to write a James Bond theme song,” Eilish’s brother and co-writer, Finneas told the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast after news of the song was announced. “And you know, it’s a legendary franchise, so we had to convince a lot of people that we were the right choice. And then we had to write a song that everybody liked. So it was a hard-won process.”
Will this hit the target with Bond fans and join classics such as Goldfinger, by Shirley Bassey, or Thunderball, by Tom Jones, and highly regarded modern efforts by the likes of Chris Cornell (You Know My Name, from Casino Royale) or Adele (Skyfall, from, uh… Skyfall) or will it be relegated to the exploding volcano bases of history alongside Alicia Keys & Jack White’s Another Way To Die (from Quantum of Solace) or Sam Smith’s beyond dreary Writing’s On The Wall (from SPECTRE)…!?
I guess you’ll know your answer to that by now. As for me, I love it.
No Time To Die (the movie) is released in April (date according to country).
Director of Warner Bros.’ forthcoming reboot of The Batman, Matt Reeves has revealed the first look at incoming Bruce Wayne, Robert Pattinson, in costume as the Dark Knight…
The short, atmospheric video is part of a camera test for the film, so this may not be the final costume, but there’s no doubt that Pattinson looks good in the cape and cowl.
The cast for The Batman also includes Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as Riddler, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, John Turturro as crime boss Carmine Falcone, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred, and Peter Sarsgaard in an as-yet unrevealed role.
The Batman hits our screens on June 25, 2021.
UPDATE: Apparently that IS the Bat Suit and also the music is from Michael Giacchino, who’s scoring the film. That makes this clip a whole lot more intriguing.
Those of you who unsubscribed to Disney + at the end of The Mandalorian: get ready to re-subscribe:
There are your Super Bowl teasers for forthcoming Marvel TV shows: WandaVision, Loki, and Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Well, Disney +, you have my attention.
All featuring the actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Mackie & Sebastian Stan), joined by the likes of Kat Denning and Owen Wilson, these look set to be intriguing expansions of the first ten years of Marvel, ready to lead us into the next phase.
The first show up will be Falcon And The Winter Soldier (autumn 2020), which looks like it will deal head on with the space left by Steve Rogers (oh, the whole world has seen Avengers: Endgame by now, right!?).
WandaVision (following soon after) looks especially bizarre, seemingly taking visual cues from the likes of I Love Lucy and Roseanne. It’s great to see these shows might take some creative risks.
And I feel sure Mr Hiddleston will bring a fan or two into the Disney streaming service with Loki, in 2021. Also expect this show to tie-in heavily with cinema sequel, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, sadly without director, Scott Derrickson, who recently departed the production due to those pesky “creative differences.”.
Now, where’s that TV remote? I have some planning to do…